Can you learn more from failure than success?

Yesterday I dished on Molly Dworsky’s viral video that got over one million views.

That was a huge success for her and got her way more media attention than she’d ever gotten before.

So she decided to try to do it again. She had good success parodying Lorde, and Molly kind of looks and sounds like her, so she picked another Lorde song and parodied it:

Being a musician myself, I am very critical of musical production. I found that the audio quality is far better than that of her first video. I think the video is better produced. The lighting and costumes are better.

Molly gave it a big push. She called up the media people that helped her the first time around and got their support. In Minneapolis, she got on the evening news!

Sadly, this video never caught fire like her earlier one did. It currently has 5,947 views. The same number of days in, her first video had 857,203 views – more than 100 times better!

One success, one failure.

This is where things get interesting to me. It’s situations like this that make me say you can learn more from a failure than a success. When you look at a success, it’s often hard to pinpoint what made that thing successful. Usually when something fails, it’s easier to figure out why.

For example, why is Facebook successful? They do a lot of things right, but I’m not sure we could all agree on why they are so successful.

Why did MySpace fail? Probably easier to agree on an answer.

One big one is they didn’t have a place for third party developers to plug in. That means no one could write Farmville for MySpace. (And where would the world be without Farmville?)

This is probably one of the key features that made Facebook win, but without the failure of MySpace to examine, it would be hard to make that claim.

So, what about Molly’s videos? I believe the production on the second one is far better. The media push came earlier. So why did the first one get such better numbers?

I’ve had a few weeks to stew over this. I think the answer isn’t in the videos themselves as much as in the social environment of the moment and what was being parodied!

For those of you who don’t know, the artist being parodied, “Lorde” is a 17 year old New Zealander who found HUGE success with her first hit, “Royals”.

Ironically, the song is about being jaded about all the rich pop stars . She says that she and her friends don’t need all those things. “We aren’t caught up in your love affair.”

Of course, by the time most of us heard the song, Lorde had become a rich pop star who didn’t need anything! If this isn’t a situation that begs to be parodied, I don’t know what is.

Molly did a fabulous job, fast forwarding the clock ten years and harping about her own fading youth (so unfair!). The fact that Molly looks and sounds a lot like Lorde just makes it even better.

By the time Lorde’s second song, “Team”, came out, Lorde was a relatively established property. The world kind of got over her being only 17 and, well, at least she’s not complaining about rich pop stars while she is becoming one.

“Team” was kind of “just another song on the radio”. No one was upset about it. No one was upset about Lorde anymore. It surely didn’t beg to be ridiculed like the first song.

So the second parody didn’t really scratch an itch in the marketplace. It’s cute, and kind of funny, but no one was bugged by the song or its message in the first place. No one wanted to see it parodied.

There are surely other factors that enter in, but to keep this piece halfway short, I’ll stop there 🙂

Can we learn more from failure than success? I hope so. A certain measure of failure is inevitable. But if we learn from it, we can chalk it up to education expense and move on.

Tuition is dear at the University of Hard Knocks, though, so … far better that we learn from each other!